Sunderland RCA’s penalty woe

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A MISSED penalty proved costly for Sunderland RCA in Saturday’s FA Cup preliminary round tie at Spennymoor Town, writes MALCOLM PRATT.

Jason Ainsley’s side scored the only goal on 33 minutes when Jamie Harwood drove hard and low from 25 yards past goalkeeper Gary Hoggeth.

Six minutes later, however, RCA had the chance to equalise. Michael Laws was adjudged to have handled, but goalkeeper Craig Turns came to Moors’ rescue, saving Andy Jennings’ spot-kick.

Jennings almost atoned in the second half, but his shot struck the post and only a brilliant save from Turns prevented Gary Shields from equalising. It was cruel luck on Neil Hixon’s high-flying side that they went out – suffering their first defeat of the season.

Results went largely to form, but South Shields surprisingly held Newcastle Benfield to a draw.

Debutant Nicky Kane set up Carl Pattison to give Benfield an eighth-minute lead before Alex Benjamin’s penalty was saved by Benfield keeper Andy Grainger.

Undeterred, the underdogs levelled with a good header from Anthony Burnell. Only a fantastic Grainger save to deny Shaun McAvoy prevented Shields from claiming a shock win.

Pointless Penrith upset Billingham Synthonia, holding on for a 3-2 win, while Lee Kerr and Lee Paul Scroggins eased Whitley Bay home 2-0 against Marske United and Ashington outgunned Northallerton 2-1, thanks to debutant Jamie Clarke and Andrew Johnson.

A strong second-half performance by Bedlington Terriers crushed Billingham Town.

After hitting 19 goals in their previous two games, Terriers added another six with Anthony Shandran (2), Stephen Richardson (2), Dean Douglas and Ian Graham all scoring.

Tony Stephenson’s brace earned Hebburn a 2-2 draw and a replay at Whitehaven tomorrow, while there was an unusual incident at Guisborough, where Shildon won with Stephen Johnson’s 37th-minute strike.

Leon Scott was introduced as a substitute on the hour and 15 minutes later the referee noticed he was wearing an ear-ring. He was ordered to leave the pitch and Shildon played the last 15 minutes with 10 men.

FA Cup, first round qualifying draw: Shildon v Ashington, Spennymoor v Dunston UTS, Hebburn Town or Whitehaven v Penrith, Kendal Town v Whitley Bay, Bedlington Terriers v Newcastle Benfield or South Shields